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1841 S.D.U.K. Map or City Plan of Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva. - Main View

1841 S.D.U.K. Map or City Plan of Geneva, Switzerland




  1841 (dated)     12 x 15.5 in (30.48 x 39.37 cm)     3.722222222


A desirable 1841 map or plan of the city of Geneva, Switzerland, prepared for publication by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, or S.D.U.K. It covers the city of Geneva in its entirety centered on the Rhone River. The southern portion of Lake Geneva is included. The city is depicted in splendid detail throughout, noting individual streets, buildings, rivers and parks. The bottom left quadrant of the map includes a beautifully illustrated view of Geneva. An inset of the Environs of Geneva is included in the top right quadrant. This map is engraved by B. R. Davies and published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in 1834. Although the Society closed its doors in 1848, Subsequent reissues of the S.D.U.K. atlas were printed well into the 1870s by Chapman and Hall, who acquired the original plates.


The "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" (1826 - 1848) was a Whiggish organization founded in 1828 at the instigation of idealistic British lord Henry Peter Brougham. The admirable goal of the Society was to distribute useful information via a series of publications to the English working and middle classes. It promoted self-education and the egalitarian sharing of all knowledge. While closely tied to the London University and publishing houses on the order of Baldwin and Cradock, Chapman and Hall, and Charles Knight, the Society failed to achieve its many lofty goals in finally closed its doors in 1848. Most likely the failure of the Society resulted from its publications being too expensive for its intended lower to middle class markets and yet not large and fine enough to appeal to the aristocratic market. Nonetheless, it did manage to publish several extraordinary atlases of impressive detail and sophistication. Their most prominent atlas consisted of some 200 separately issued maps initially published by Baldwin and Cradock and sold by subscription from 1829 to 1844. Afterwards, the Society combined the maps into a single world atlas published under the Chapman and Hall imprint. In its day, this atlas was unprecedented in its quality, scope, and cost effectiveness. Today Society, or S.D.U.K. as it is commonly known, maps are among the most impressive examples of mid-19th century English mass market cartographic publishing available. The S.D.U.K. is especially known for its beautiful and accurately detailed city plans.


Very good. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 0890.178. Phillips (Atlases) 794.